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A life connected to some of our biggest Scientology stories ends in a terrible way

[Jonathan Ramsay, 1981-2018]

We have some unfortunate news regarding a person who had a connection to a couple of different stories here at the Underground Bunker. His name was Jonathan Ramsay, and he recently ended his life in Arizona at the age of 37.

We first learned about Jonathan from his uncle, Rob Ramsay, who reached out to us in 2015. Rob’s brother, Peter Ramsay, had recently died, and his son Jonathan was trying to retrieve money that his father, a longtime Scientologist, had left on account.

In Scientology, members are encouraged to bank large amounts of money on account in order to pay for future services. When someone changes their mind about their involvement, they can spend years trying to get that money back, and we’ve seen some pretty visible examples of that, including the five-year unsuccessful lawsuit by Luis and Rocio Garcia.

Jonathan was raised in Scientology, had Scientologist parents, worked at a Scientologist company, but he apparently only had a rather tenuous connection of his own to the church in his adult years and he wanted to get his father’s money back. Rob, his uncle, reached out to us because they were running into some of the same problems experienced by the Garcias. They were told that because Peter had signed various membership contracts, Jonathan would have to submit to Scientology’s internal “arbitration” to resolve the issue.

In fact, Scientology seemed unusually insistent about having Jonathan submit to arbitration, and his uncle Rob suggested to us that it had to do with the Garcia lawsuit.


At the time, the Garcias were arguing that Scientology’s “arbitration” was a sham, and even the church admitted in court that it had never actually held an internal arbitration in its history. Rob told us he assumed Scientology was encouraging Jonathan so heavily to go through an arbitration over his father’s money so it could hold that up to Tampa federal Judge James Whittemore, who was hearing the Garcia lawsuit.

But Jonathan decided to give up on pursuing the matter. (And Judge Whittemore forced the Garcias to go through the nonexistent arbitration anyway.)

Jonathan’s name first appeared in a story here at the Bunker when we asked our readers to help us solve a mystery about some of the documents that were found in his father Peter’s possessions.

His father Peter Ramsay’s major appearance at the Bunker was in our favorite story of 2016, when we told the tale of his years working as a Scientology volunteer to harass a church critic named Gregg Hagglund. Rob had turned over Peter’s Scientology documents to us, and they made for a rare look into the papers of a Scientology spy. Peter died of lung cancer in 2013. Now, Peter’s son is dead at 37.

“Jonathan spent most of his youth at a Scientology school, the Mojave Academy in New Mexico. The last time I saw Jonathan he was telling me that the school one day sent most of the kids into Watts after some riots to hand out ‘The Way to Happiness’,” Rob says.

Rob gave us this snapshot of the Academy staff that Jonathan took in 1993…


“That’s Sarge, on the left,” Larisa Smith, who attended the school several years later, told us. She identified the woman in the middle as Joke Reeder.

“It was a Scientology boarding school,” she says. “The Scientology training and indoctrination was weird. It was very strict. There was no sugar allowed at all, no watching television or movies, even on breaks when the kids would go home. There was hard labor work, and phys ed with Sarge had us running for miles in the 120-degree heat. Then the ethics interrogations that were just random and felt Big Brotherish. It gave us a good glimpse of what the Sea Org might feel like. Sea Org recruiters would come and recruit kids for hours on end.”

Jonathan’s uncle Rob thinks the school had a long-lasting effect on him.

“Jonathan’s father, mother, and stepfather were all Scientologists. His father Peter was delusional when he died of lung cancer. His stepfather was an OT 8 but put a bullet in his head. I can’t say from where I’m sitting that Scientology in any way gets you ready for success.”

Jonathan also worked with Scientologists, as an insurance investigator at David Morse Associates, an investigations firm that over the years has employed some of Scientology’s biggest former spies. Rob says his nephew was very skilled at his job, and didn’t seem to have any problems there. But increasingly, over the last year, Jonathan had been voicing suicidal thoughts.

In April, Jonathan ordered a Glock pistol and a semiautomatic rifle from the Scottsdale Gun Club, but Rob says his brother Ian talked Jonathan out of it and he cancelled the order after it had already shipped.

Rob says he and his brother were prepared to call the police if Jonathan had gone through with taking delivery on the order.

On May 11, according to a police report, Jonathan’s ex-wife called authorities worried that she hadn’t heard from him and that he’d sounded suicidal. Police went to Jonathan’s house and found him dead. He’d hanged himself with an electrical cord from a ceiling fan.

“I think here we have an example of how Scientology fails not just the lives of those who embrace it, but also those who are dragged along for the ride,” says Rob. “From an early age, Scientology dictated that Jon was told he was not to be treated as a child, but as an ‘old being’ in a child’s body. He felt alone and abandoned. He craved a regular family existence, but it was not available. Being put into the Mojave Academy only emphasized this.

“Jon was a troubled soul as a result of the effect that Scientology played on his father, his mother, and his stepfather. He turned to heroin, and was placed into a rehab program that I think, but cannot confirm, was Narconon. But his demons never left. In the end, after seeing his stepfather blow his brains out and his father die of lung cancer delusional and devastated, he found not the Bridge to Total Freedom, but the end of a rope. The world is not a square hole into which you can hammer a Scientology peg. It just won’t fit, no matter how many times you try to smack it in. Things just end up breaking…like people.”


Marie Bilheimer could use a hand

You remember Marie Bilheimer, who was the subject of one of our most gut-wrenching stories, and then she went on to be featured on an episode of Scientology and the Aftermath. Well, she recently lost her job for no good reason, and her friend Saina Kamula set up a GoFundMe for her. You know what to do.





Please join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,207 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,810 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 353 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 241 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,416 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,190 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,964 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,310 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,876 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,544 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,804 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,844 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,556 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,082 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,171 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,311 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,631 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,487 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,606 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 962 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,264 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,370 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,773 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,645 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,227 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,732 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,976 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,085 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on August 15, 2018 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news


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